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Today’s Headlines – January 9, 2012

Good morning! Here are your early morning news highlights to get your day going!

The Washington Post: Administration To High Court: Congress Acted Within Rights On Health-Care Law
Congress was “well within” its constitutional powers when it decided that the way to resolve a crisis in health-care costs and coverage was to mandate that Americans obtain insurance or pay a fine, the Obama administration told the Supreme Court on Friday (Barnes, 1/6).

The Wall Street Journal: Government Lays Out Health-Law Defense
The department submitted a 63-page written brief that reiterated its main legal arguments in support of the health-care law’s requirement that individuals carry health insurance or pay a penalty. Among its submissions, the Obama administration argued the insurance mandate is a valid way to address a national crisis in which the uninsured impose huge costs on the U.S. health-care system (Kendall and Maltby, 1/6).

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The Washington Post: Federal Health Care IT Spending Set To Grow
With money tight, congressional appropriators rarely insist that agencies spend money. Yet the omnibus spending bill passed Dec. 17 approved $100 million for a joint Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs effort to develop digital medical records — even though they missed deadlines for requesting the money (Petty, 1/8).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Funding Va. Government Is A Somber Task; Some Bills Will Stir Passions, Others Will Entertain
Somehow, Virginia’s General Assembly and Gov. Bob McDonnell have to come up with billions of dollars more for Medicaid, for keeping the state’s aging roads passable and to keep the pension system for Virginia’s public employees solvent (1/8).

CNN: Doctors Going Broke
Half of all doctors in the nation operate a private practice. … Doctors list shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business and drug costs among the factors preventing them from keeping their practices afloat. But some experts counter that doctors’ lack of business acumen is also to blame (Kavilanz, 1/6).

The Wall Street Journal: When Insurance Fails
Many people assume insurance offered by their employer is a better deal than they can get on their own. But while the premiums can be lower, such policies have drawbacks. … But whereas traditional insurance is subject to state laws and disputes can be tried before juries, with the potential for punitive damage awards, policies sold through employers typically fall under the 1974 federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or Erisa—with a federal judge ruling on disputes and no damages allowed (Scism, 1/7).

Los Angeles Times: Investing In Beaten-Down Sectors Could Be A Good Bet This Year
Healthcare stocks remain promising despite last year’s run-up, several analysts said. “We generally like two ingredients, sectors that are relatively cheap and have some momentum,” Ablin said. “The No. 1 sector in that space right now is healthcare” (Pfeifer. 1/8).